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Saturday Stakes Roundup
Pharmstar takes after her sister
MIAMI - Pharmstar followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Valid Forbes, by registering an easy 4 3/4-length victory over even-money favorite Blissful Kiss in the $75,000 Desert Vixen Stakes at Calder on Saturday.
Valid Forbes won the 2000 edition of the six-furlong Desert Vixen, opening leg of the filly division of the Florida Stallion Series.
Pharmstar disputed the early pace with Blissful Kiss, could not keep pace around the turn, then swung outside and readily ran down Blissful Kiss leaving the eighth pole to win going away. Blissful Kiss was easily second best, finishing five lengths in front of Be Silver.
Pharmstar ($5.40) covered six furlongs in 1:12.79 under Cornelio Velasquez. Her final time was faster than the boys posted in either division of the Dr. Fager Stakes.
"She came down with tender shins earlier in the week, but I thought we could hold her together and win this one," said trainer Ralph Ziadie by phone from Vancouver, where he was waiting to board a cruise ship for Alaska. "We'll see how the shins are doing in about a week before deciding on whether she'll make the second leg of the series."
The second leg is the Susan's Girl on Sept. 1.
Ziadie had to settle for second money in both splits of the $75,000 Dr. Fager. Carey's Gold led throughout to defeat his Royal Lad in the first division. O'Rocky rallied to catch Concorde's Appeal in the second division.
Carey's Gold, purchased privately by Adam Thompson after winning his only previous start under a $40,000 claiming tag on July 16, set a lively pace, held off a bid from Royal Lad in early stretch before edging off to a two- length triumph. Bog Hunter finished third. Barnacle Steve, the 3-2 favorite, was bumped at the break and did not beat a horse.
"I ran him 4 1/2 furlongs in his first start as a prep for this race. It was like a workout. I wasn't afraid anybody would claim him," said trainer Henry Collazo, who kept the horse in his barn after Thompson purchased the colt from his previous owner, Carey LeJeune.
Carey's Gold ($10.60) was ridden to victory by Roger Velez. His final time for six furlongs was 1:13.56.
O'Rocky prompted the pace then wore down Concorde's Appeal before drawing off to a
2 3/4-length decision in the second division of the Dr. Fager. Concorde's Appeal finished nearly five lengths clear of Valid Action, who rallied mildly to be third.
Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for Bea Oxenberg, O'Rocky ($22.40) ran six furlongs in 1:13.48.
"The first time he ran he was green and bled a bit," said Plesa. "He improved with the combination of blinkers and Lasix."
O'Rocky has now won three of his last four starts and will be pointed for the $125,000 Affirmed Stakes, along with Carey's Gold, on Sept. 1.
- Mike Welsch
Arlington: Caressing returns to form
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The old Caressing, the one who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' last fall, showed up again at Arlington Park, turning back a challenge from Gal On the Go to win the Grade 3 $125,000 Singapore Plate Stakes by a length.
Caressing ($4.60) may have been briefly headed in mid-stretch by Gal On the Go, but she re-rallied gamely along the inside and was going away at the wire. Gal On the Go, the second choice, was clearly second, with Scoop third. The winner ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.74.
The Singapore Plate may have been just what Caressing needed. The filly began her 3-year-old campaign on the wrong foot, when she got sick before she was to make her seasonal debut. She won her first start of the year, the La Troienne, but was badly beaten in two subsequent starts and was coming off a poor race when favored in the Delaware Oaks.
Caressing's connections, owner Carl Pollard and trainer Dave Vance, were somewhat mystified by the filly's recent struggles, and chose the Singapore Plate hoping to put Caressing in a winning spot, if not a top-class race.
Caressing, on the bit from the start, sat comfortably behind a contested half-mile was run in a quick 47.03 seconds. She moved outside to challenge the tiring speed on the far turn, and, according to Vance, loafed a bit before Gal On the Go loomed a threat in the final three-sixteenths of a mile.
With this win behind her, Vance and Pollard may point Caressing to more important races in the fall, though Vance will try to keep her separated from his other good 3-year-old filly, Unbridled Elaine.
- Marcus Hersh
Woodbine: Record Breeders' win for Attfield
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Favored Sweetest Thing blew away her five rivals at Woodbine in the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.
It was a record seventh Breeders' victory for trainer Roger Attfield, who is 4 for 4 in the race with fillies. Sweetest Thing returned $3.50 in her stakes debut and banked $300,000 for owners Mickey Canino, Bill Werner, and Attfield.
Fly Smartly, Go Figure, and Vie for Fame vied up front through slow fractions in the
1 1/2-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. Sweetest Thing stalked the pace under Jim McAleney and made a three-wide bid for the lead midway on the far turn.
Sweetest Thing drifted wide at the top of the stretch, but was never threatened thereafter and coasted home on top by 7 1/2 lengths in a time of 2:29.90. Flaming Sky closed inside to edge Asia by a neck for third.
"I was able to put her in the exact position I wanted," said McAleney. "I didn't like being as wide as we were, but I felt I was on the best horse, and I didn't want to get her in any trouble."
* Meadow Gem remained unbeaten in four starts with an impressive front-running win over Saratoga shipper Gold Mover in the $142,900 Duchess Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Meadow Gem set splits of 22.54 and 44.96 seconds en route to a 2 1/4-length triumph in the seven-furlong dash. Gold Mover tracked Meadow Gem all the way, and was 4 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Poetically. The final time was 1:22.48.
Meadow Gem earned $83,100 in her first stakes engagement, and returned $2.80 as part of the favored entry with Poetically and Madame Red.
David Clark rode the winner, who is owned by trainer Bob Tiller in partnership with L Q Racing Stable and partners.
- Ron Gierkink
Monmouth: Sparkling Number sprints clear
OCEANPORT, N.J. - Sparkling Number took on the boys in the Anderson Fowler on July 22, and found her own gender an easier group in the $50,000 Candy Eclair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Monmouth Park.
Sparkling Number, the 2-1 second choice, broke to the lead and never faced a challenge, covering the five-furlong turf race in 56.58 seconds. Sparkling Number, trained by Linda Rice, finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Carsonality. Glamour Tour was third.
Sparkling Number ($6.20), who was ridden by Jose Ferrer, improved to 3-2-1 in seven career starts, all of which have come on the turf. She also won the Ocean Hotel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies earlier this meet.
- Ryan Goldberg
Thistledown: Turkowar extends streak
Turkowar made it back-to-back stakes victories with a front-running two-length tally over his 10 3-year-old Ohio-bred peers in the 26th running of the $40,000 North Randall Stakes at Thistledown.
Blame It on Ruby was a fast closing second, three-quarters of a length in front of Reggie's Winner.
Turkowar ($21.60), ridden by Tony Caminita and trained by Joe Shuman, ran the six furlongs in 1:11.10 and stretched his winning streak to four races.
- Chuck Scaravilli